Rocket Chainsaw’s 2016 Game of the Year Awards
We’ve come to end of the year and what a year it was overall! While 2016 may have seen celebrities dropping like flies, in gaming there were a multitude of incredible experiences that released during the year. We watched Nathan Drake’s journey end in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, we saw Playdead release the much-anticipated INSIDE to critical fanfare and raced around Australia in Forza Horizon 3. We also saw decade long development cycles finally come to an end, with Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian and Owlboy all releasing towards the end of year and avoiding the failures of past games with extended development cycles.
To aid us in choosing a definitive Rocket Chainsaw Game of the Year each staff member here was tasked with deciding on their 7 favourite games of 2016. A testament to the overall quality of 2016 was that throughout all of our lists, not a single two people chose the same game as their personal game of the year. What this means is that the race was close all the way to the end, with only a single vote separating our game of the year and runner up.
Without further ado, read below for the official Rocket Chainsaw Games of the Year for 2016.
The much-anticipated second games from Playdead released to near universal acclaim, praising the game’s incredible atmosphere, puzzles and character building, without a single word of dialogue or story. INSIDE is the greatest emergent narrative to release in the gaming space.
Pokemon Sun/Moon & Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice
Our first, and only, tie of the night. Pokemon Sun and Moon released during the franchises 20th anniversary year and became the first games in the series to make massive changes to the Pokemon formula. What resulted was a re-invigoration of the franchise that brought fans, both new and old, much joy and happiness.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice continued the journeys of Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice as they once-again returned to the court room. Praised for its writing, puzzles and characters, Spirit of Justice may be one of the best entries yet, of the long-running Ace Attorney franchise.
Forza Horizon 3
With Forza Horizon 3 Playground Games brought the Horizon Festival to Australia with a number of improvements and reaped the rewards. With a vibrant Australian landscape to race through, exceptional car controls and physics, another great soundtrack and a massive number of cars, Forza Horizon 3 is a contender for the best racing game of this generation and showed that Playground Games are now the premier racing game developer.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Over the last generation and a half Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series cemented them as the golden child of Sony’s brigade of in-house development studios. That reputation was proven true with Uncharted 4’s incredible graphics, surprisingly deep and grounded story and themes, and incredible characterisations once again taking the world by storm.
Strategy games have long been the hallmark of the PC gaming scene, with Civilization being the most prominent and long-running series today. Civilization VI proved to be another incredible timesink from Firaxis Games, with the myriad of gameplay mechanics, both new and old, meshing together perfectly to create another amazingly engaging experience.
Dark Souls 3
Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Dark Souls franchise has single-handedly propelled From Software into the minds of gamers everywhere. The combination of uber-difficult, yet incredibly fair combat and highly interesting art design and lore has effectively created a brand-new craze that is loved by even those who hate to die. Dark Souls 3 is the perfect culmination of all of these parts and more, becoming a wonderfully crafted experience.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood & Wine
While The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood & Wine is an expansion pack, as opposed to a standalone game, its incredible quality and size meant that it was highly regarded. Blood & Wine provided a fitting end for Geralt of Rivia, with a beautifully colourful world and a new engaging storyline that contained more content than most full priced games. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood & Wine is a testament to the dedication and quality of work at CD Projekt Red.
Dark Souls 3
It seems that death is popular here at Rocket Chainsaw, with the incredibly engaging Dark Souls 3 taking out second place. The combination of disturbing and grotesque monster design and incredibly tight combat mechanics set Dark Souls 3 apart from everything else released this year.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Not only is Nathan Drake’s final outing our game of the year, it was also the only game to appear on more than four staff game of the year lists. The more grounded approach taken by Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann perfectly capped off Nathan Drake’s adventuring days and was the greatest send off Naughty Dog could have possibly created for a much loved character.